AUSTRALIA

Section: AUSTRALIA

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 January 2017
    7 Comments

    The question of proper parliamentary and government work expenses remains unresolved. Whether rural MPs should use charter flights rather than commercial airlines is the latest aspect. Every element of political work expenses is now under sceptical public scrutiny. The recent case of former Minister for Health Sussan Ley is just one of many questionable instances. The central question is what is a legitimate work expense for politicians. The matter of who should then pay is secondary.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down

    • Mark Hearn
    • 30 January 2017
    6 Comments

    2016 was a bumper year for the political double down. Journalist Mark Kenny witnessed a dramatic manifestation: 'Mr Abbott was seen to double down on his recent indirect messaging to Mr Turnbull about a possible return to the frontbench.' A combined 'double down with indirect messaging': perhaps a uniquely Abbott adaptation. Doubling down - otherwise known as repeating yourself - is the public language of aggressive redundancy, drowning out alternative voices and ideas.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Horror year of state care abuse justifies intervention

    • Oliver Jacques
    • 26 January 2017
    10 Comments

    Allowing the Catholic Church to investigate itself was once described by an abuse victim as akin to 'putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank'. The Church now largely accepts the value of outside scrutiny, and has even endorsed a national redress scheme that would subject it to independent examination of its complaint handling and treatment of victims. But there is another institution - plagued by rampant child abuse in 2016 - where the vampires in charge are still trusted to mop up the blood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Australian bureaucratic Mean Virus is epidemic

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 26 January 2017
    23 Comments

    'Take that out of your mouth, I have to touch that,' barked the Border Protection officer, glaring at me. I'd been juggling bags, boarding tickets, and a passenger exit card, so my passport was positioned precariously between my lips. I wondered if there was a class for teaching them how to be that special mix of forcefully domineering and nasty. It's not just at airports that ordinary people are increasingly feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of bureaucratic antagonism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The problem of privilege in Australia Day billboard furore

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 23 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The removal of an Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijabs prompted a swell of support against Islamophobia. Alongside this was a backlash from those who read the action as forcing Muslim Australians to be complicit in the oppression of Indigenous peoples. My unease came from seeing intra-community tension manifest as dismissal and denigration of those who were considered not 'woke' enough to the politics and embedded racism surrounding invocations of Australian identity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't pick the scab of meaning from our national holidays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The enjoyment of the holidays did not soften the mayhem and malice of the public world and the people whose lives and happiness are so destroyed by them. It held in mind the images of death and diminishment, but set them on a canvas of thanksgiving for the ways in which kindness and humanity are embodied in people's lives, for the strength and delicacy of relationships that we take for granted, and for the gift of a beach holiday that is an impossible dream for so many Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why I don't support changing the date of Amnesia Day

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 22 January 2017
    27 Comments

    For many years I felt that by changing the date we might come to a more inclusive national celebration. However the past few years of Indigenous activism have left me cynical. The things we were fighting for decades ago are very similar to the things we're still fighting for. Australia has not acknowledged and rectified its history; rather it seems content to reinforce its amnesia. It's therefore unlikely I will be able to stop protesting this celebration, regardless of the day it's held upon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of conscience and same-sex marriage

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 22 January 2017
    25 Comments

    Two issues can be dealt with shortly. First, ministers of religion must be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their beliefs. Second, there is no basis for extending a similar concession to marriage celebrants. The case of commercial service providers is more complex. Many argue that caterers, florists, reception centres and so on should be free to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, on the basis of their religious beliefs. The case for the commercial exemption is unconvincing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Unity on the lamb in the ethnocracy of Australia

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 19 January 2017
    12 Comments

    Like all authorised generalisations, this luminous, unified vision of Australia contains truth, exaggerations, and lies. As well as being a globally known story, it's also the story Australia most likes to tell itself; it sings through ideas like the lucky country, the land of the fair go, the land of the long weekend. Social research on Australia tells a more complex story. Australia is in fact an ethnocracy - a state that is formed in the image and for the benefit of a dominant ethnic group.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the age of automation

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 19 January 2017
    7 Comments

    Many have called for the automated Centrelink debt collection system to be scrapped, but the government is standing by it. One of the reasons for this may be that the system is doing just what it's designed to do - trying to force people away from welfare reliance by making it more onerous. Pope Francis argues that far from a 'neutral' tool, technology creates a framework which conditions people and limits their possible options along lines dictated by the most economically and politically powerful.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Arts face growing uncertainty despite momentous year

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 15 January 2017
    3 Comments

    2017 is set to be a momentous year for the arts in Australia. On 1 November we commemorate 50 years since Harold Holt announced the creation of an independent body to champion 'the free play of our cultural interests and enthusiasms at all levels' — an announcement that meant bringing together disparate focuses and isolated funds with a national vision. Yet today's Australia Council faces an uncertain future, and the free play of our cultural interests is jeopardised by that uncertainty.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Twenty-two years on the run from abuse

    • Elise Power
    • 15 January 2017
    11 Comments

    We packed our bags in the black of an early morning. We ran from a house on the beach to a house in Frankston. Me, my mum, and my younger brother. My father had four intervention orders to his name, a law degree and all the bravado and lack of empathy typical of a perpetrator of domestic violence. For many women and children domestic violence doesn't end after you've run away. That is only the beginning. I'm 33 and I've been running away from my dad ever since I was 11.

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